It’s a shame Ronald Reagan made so many westerns. Maybe if he hadn’t, half of America wouldn’t be so obsessed with finding another shoot from the hip cowboy to run the country.
Donald Trump isn’t folksy and he isn’t a real cowboy, of course. Awkwardly positioned as a blue-collar billionaire, Trump is a Northeastern elite who has never looked natural when bending his knee in the clay and mingling with regular people who feel like they’ve been robbed of the American dream. Still, while he comes from a different universe, he shares their anger… or rather, he recognizes it and respects the power of it more than most. To many, that’s enough. Even if he is, as many suspect, an opportunist trying to ride a poisonous wave into power. He’s their pandering opportunist.
To the delight of many and in keeping with that straight-talking cowboy stereotype, Donald Trump is not elegant, polished, or politically correct in his words. He’s prone to making deplorable generalizations about Mexicans and Muslims, mocking the disabled, and as we were all reminded on Friday, he has a history of making statements about women that are utterly degrading and incredibly concerning.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.
“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
You may be repulsed, but to Donald Trump, these remarks represent “locker room banter” and “a distraction.” Those are, of course, carefully selected terms designed to both diminish this controversy and Trump’s actions and return equilibrium to the election as quickly as possible. But it isn’t going to be so smooth, this time. After an election filled with Chicken Little-esque doom prognostications for Donald Trump’s scandal-ridden candidacy, maybe maybe we can see cracks in the sky. Maybe maybe the sky is starting to actually fall a little bit.
To the (minor) credit of some in the GOP, this 11-year-old recording represents the final insult. They’re done with Trump. Granted, it’s far too late to forgive them for looking the other way on the numerous foul statements Trump has made through the years and during this election but they’re right on time to disembark before the ship sinks. Those people don’t likely account for a majority of Trump voters, though.
Some Trump supporters are surely taking Trump’s apology (a rare thing in and of itself) at face value and others are probably just shrugging because Donald Trump says what he feels and they usually like what he says. These are the people that were watching TV last night while doing their best disbelieving Mike Pence headshake impression. These are the people that probably wish they could get away with saying the things that Trump does — and that probably doesn’t exclude the vulgar things he said about women with Billy Bush in the Access Hollywood clip. These are voters who also celebrate the fact that, in the words of Mike Pence, Trump is not a polished politician, which is a badge of honor in the eyes of those that are so lost in the Trump mystique that they don’t feel a need to question the qualifications or demeanor of someone who wants to run the country.